Gulf of Aden Security Review

A regularly updated review of both Yemen and the Horn of Africa covering topics related to security, governance, and militant activity.

Yemen: President Hadi meets with tribesmen to rally support against al Houthi rebels and issues ultimatum to al Houthi leaders; AQAP militants detonate VBIED in Lahij governorate; al Houthi and additional tribes begin evacuating Hamdan district

Horn of Africa: al Shabaab SVBIED attack targets an AMISOM convoy in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab ambushes Puntland security forces in Bari region; Kenyan police foil attack in Mombasa; al Shabaab attacks AMISOM and Somali forces in Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

  • President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi met with Bani Matar tribesmen on March 16 and Bani Hashish tribesmen on March 18 in Sana’a to request their support in halting the advance of al Houthi rebels from the east and the west toward the capital city of Sana’a.[1]
  • President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi issued an ultimatum to al Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi on March 17, demanding the removal of al Houthi troops from Hamdan district. Military and government leaders are concerned about the southern advance of al Houthi rebels toward the capital city of Sana’a.[2]
  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) outside of Yemeni military headquarters in the city of al Houta, Lahij governorate, on March 18. According to the 26 September news website run by the Yemeni Defense Military, at least two Yemeni soldiers and two civilians were wounded in the attack. [3]
  • Al Houthi militants and additional tribes have begun evacuating troops and removing military checkpoints from the Hamdan district near the city of Sana’a on March 18. Sources from the Hamdan mediation committee stated that both groups agreed to begin evacuating the district, following nearly two weeks of armed conflict.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) targeted an AMISOM convoy near a checkpoint along the Afgoi Corridor in Lower Shabelle region on March 17. An al Shabaab spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack, stating the explosion killed seven people. A Somali military official confirmed the incident without providing casualty figures.[5]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed a Puntland security force convoy in Laag village in Bari region on March 17. The ambush killed at least two security forces including the Puntland military commander of Galgala region, Colonel Jama Saed Warsame. It remains unclear whether the militants used a roadside IED or direct fire to ambush the convoy. Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, claimed that the attack specifically targeted Colonel Warsame.[6]
  • Kenyan police apprehended two individuals transporting multiple IEDs in Mombasa on March 17. The police received a tip that the suspects were planning to conduct an attack on an unidentified target. Reports indicate that at least one of the individuals was of Somali origin.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants conducted a coordinated attack against AMISOM and Somali forces in Bulo-Burde town in Hiraan region on March 18. The attack began as a VBIED detonated near a hotel containing AMISOM and Somali forces. The ensuing confrontation featured heavy exchanges of gunfire, resulting in numerous casualties. An al Shabaab spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that thirty AMISOM and Somali forces were killed. Witnesses report, however, that no more than fourteen people were killed in total from both sides.[8]  

[1] “After he called the tribes of Bani Matar to protect them from the West…Hadi meets tribes Bani Hashish and urges them to protect the capital from the East,” News Yemen, March 18, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Tensions rise in the capital as President Hadi issues ultimatum,” Yemen Post, March 17, 2014. Available:
[3] “Car bomb damages local intelligence HQ in southern Yemen, wounds four,” Reuters, March 18, 2014. Available:
[4] “Houthi tribes and militants in Hamedan evacuate their army,” News Yemen, March 18, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Agent Sanaa: A gunman Houthi left Hamedan and efforts are continuing to leave the rest,” News Yemen, March 18, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Somalia car bomb targets African Union convoy,” Al Jazeera, March 17, 2014. Available:
“Suicide car bomber targets AMISOM convoy,” Dalsan Radio, March 17, 2014. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Senior Puntland forces commander killed in Al Shabaab ambush,” Garowe Online, March 17, 2014. Available:
“SOMALIA: Senior Puntland military officer assassinated, Al Shabab claims responsibility,” RBC Radio, March 18, 2014. Available:
[7] “Kenya arrests two after bombs ‘found in car,’” BBC, March 17, 2014. Available:
“Kenya police say foiled bomb plot with ambush,” Al Jazeera, March 17, 2014. Available:
[8] “Somalia’s al-Shabab attack army hotel in Bulo-burde,” BBC, March 18, 2014. Available:
“Shabab militants kill 6 in Central Somalia,” Voice of America, March 18, 2014. Available:
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